What will your patients think?

If you’re like just about EVERY dental professional I’ve ever met, you’ve asked yourself this question when you’ve been faced with telling a long standing patient they have active periodontal disease.

It’s so common…especially when you’re working on taking your diagnostic skills to the next level and being more proactive with your treatment recommendations.

What will my patients think?

One thing we are hyper-aware of when we coach our client teams is that while you are obligated to tell your patients when they have active disease, it must be done in a way that preserves the relationship you’ve worked so hard to build with your patients.

This week, I’d like to share with you the results of a fantastic team that had this very concern.

And I also want to share with you HOW they did it. Scroll down, and I’m going to give you some specific words you can use when you’re in this tricky situation.


What will my patients think? This is a question the team at Drs. Belton & Schrimper asked right off the bat. And rightfully so! One of their hygienists has been in the practice for nearly 40 years!

They have worked really hard to build a stellar reputation and close relationships with so many of their patients.

Their #1 goal when they began working with us was to ‘have an updated, clear system for perio diagnosis, enrollment and treatment AND to have the verbal skills to recommend what’s best for our patients so we maintain the TRUST they have in us.’

I am thrilled to say their results are proof of how well they implemented what they learned through coaching and hands-on training.

In just 6 months, they made some impressive progress!

Perio Percentage Increased       275%

Open Time Decreased               70%

Hygiene Production Increased      24%


So how DO you talk to long standing patients about needing perio treatment?

Here are a few proven tips:

1-Be sure to read the previous chart notes.  Chances are, you (or another hygienist) have talked with them about their bleeding gums in the past. You’ve made recommendations and either they haven’t complied or they haven’t gotten the results you’ve hoped for.

2-Show them the evidence. Show them past perio charts and bleeding in the mirror. Then briefly explain how their oral health hasn’t improved.

3-Tell them you’ve tried conservative efforts. Whether it’s been a more frequent recall interval or a recommendation for better homecare, you’ve likely tried a very conservative approach.

4-‘Your body has not responding as we’d hoped’.  If they were at their medical doctor and the diet she recommended didn’t bring their blood pressure down, there would be a new recommendation.

5-It’s time to do something different. You know the definition of insanity, right? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If your goal is health then tell your patient ‘It’s time to do something different’. And this is when you present your plan of treatment.


Did every single patient say YES to the care this team recommended? No…and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s a matter of ‘planting the seed’. And sometimes, the seed has been planted and the time to present treatment is NOW.

Recent Posts

Learn More